- noun - an Atlanta-based musical force of young entrepreneurs achieving success.
It’s been said that the greatest Rap movements start out small, but for Atlanta’s own Rich Kidz, a strong hustle has produced big results. Bred from the same Bankhead streets as T.I., the duo comprised of RK Kaelub and Skateboard Skooly started their movement four years ago in the halls of Frederick Douglass High School. Kaelub, a senior at the time was putting together a crew called the Rich Kidz when he met a young Skateboard Skooly.
As part of a loose-knit group of teens that included a relative of T.I. the group, recorded an introductory track “Wassup” featuring a then freshman Skooly. Later during an opportunity to record at Grand Hustle Studios they recorded a catchy track titled “My Partna Dem”. When the time came to label the masters, Kaelub asked Skooly, “What should I put on the CD? Are you featured or are you with us?” Skooly was all in. “And we formed the alliance like that,” Kaelub recalls.
Rich Kidz built their promotional vehicle around the high schools and the streets of Atlanta. Chopping ringtones of their singles and sending them for free to students and budding fans, the campaign grew so strong that local venues were booking performances – even strip clubs. “Our first show was at the strip club Blue Flame on Christmas night,” says Skooly, who was 14 at the time. They performed their two singles and were rushed out of the venue for being underage. While in the parking lot, they were approached by the club owner who asked that they head over to his other club, Club Crucial for another show. “Why not?” said Kaelub.
As their performances grew, so did their notoriety. Within three weeks of its YouTube release, “My Partna Dem” broke a million in YouTube views. “We call that YouTube platinum,” says Skooly. The remix featured Grand Hustle’s Young Dro and even got the remix treatment from Ludacris. Adamant about staying in school, the group members found themselves performing late night shows and heading directly to school in their stage gear. “Sometimes we’d switch outfits before we walked in the door,” says Kaelub. Their manager recalls one instance where they borrowed a car and drove the four hours to perform in Alabama, making it back just in time before the first school bell rang.
On the release-side, their first project Rich Kid$…On Our Block released in 2008 kickstarted their movement, with follow-up mixtapes, Rich Kid$ Money Swag and 24/7. However, by 2010 the renamed Rich Kidz were down to two: Kaelub and Skooly. They opted to regroup, update their sound and really represent what it means to be a “rich kid.” The pair released We Supposed To Stop, But We Didn’t and the real buzz started. With follow-up releases Straight Like That and #StraightLikeThat2 in early 2011, it became clear that Rich Kidzwere a growing force. “You could hear our growth,” says Skooly, “we had our head in the game.”
That growth led to their break-out release Everybody Eat Bread and their latest Straight Like That 3 #CCM. Rich Kidz have several successes under the belts already, having collaborated with Waka Flocka Flame on “My Life,” 2 Chainz on “Rumor,” and production credits from the likes of Drumma Boy, The Cataracs, the Stereotypes, and others.
However, their biggest success was both finishing high school. “It had to happen,” says Skooly, who just graduated this year. “We weren’t going to do this unless we finished school.” The hustle has officially paid off, and the stage is now set for the Rich Kidz’ major label debut. Recognizing their hardcore grassroots efforts, Columbia Records readily signed the duo and added them to their roster of legends (and soon to be legends) in the Rap game.
Prior to their signing, the Rich Kidz signed themselves to their own imprint label Rich Kidz Music Group. Adjusting to major label life, Skooly and Kaelub are beginning their wish list of collaborators, including Lil Wayne, Kendrick Lamar, and J. Cole. They’re also hard at work in the studio, developing a sound based on a thing they call “vibesters.” “That’s getting the right vibe down with good people and good spirits,” says Skooly. The pair is putting the finishing touches on a new mixtape before releasing their long-awaited debut album. It’s only been four years, but that’s a long time coming for two Bankhead boys with big dreams, pushing positive music. “We’re the outcasts of the street,” says Kaelub. “We have the streets on lock, but we’re not about the smoking or drinking or guns.” “We’re the cool weirdos,” adds Skooly. “Either hate or salute.”